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Guest Post: Tips & Gotcha’s when designing Windows 8 Apps

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Guest Post: Tips & Gotcha’s when designing Windows 8 Apps

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I sat down this week with Dave Crawford and got him to do a quick brain dump of his top tips and gotcha’s that he sees regularly when reviewing Windows 8 Apps that have been submitted in the UK for the Windows 8 App store. Dave and his team review all the apps that UK developers submit for the UK app store so these top tips are definitely things you should make sure you note down before you submit your app.



Microsoft provide a set of guidelines that you should follow, please try to follow these. They are the minimum requirement for submitting your all and the automated test processes will block your app from getting into the app store. Once you’ve followed these you’ll then get to Dave’s team.

  • Wide Tiles – These must be dynamic with live content in them not static
  • Live Tiles - Must follow the live tile standards found in the guidelines document.
  • Using the default black & white template with little design but mainly text is not advised.
  • We see two extremes with apps – just very simple with little customization or too much customization with little Windows 8 feel to the app. Both are unlikely to get passed so be sensible with your layouts and designs.
  • Don’t ignore the control layouts
  • Charms are used for sharing – all sharing options should go here not in the menus
  • You have 2 app bars one at the top and the other at the bottom. Both show when you scroll up or down. These are used for different things:
    • The top bar is for navigation such as sections of your app.
    • The bottom bar is for commands such as filtering
    • Search should be in the charms.
    • Home buttons should be in the top navigation section and placed to the left side
    • The left side of the app bar is used for contextual commands
    • The right side of the app bar is used for commands
    • Icons should be placed in a consistent location
  • When designing hubs, content should flow horizontally. Don’t place vertical scrolling areas on hubs. This is different to panoramas on Windows Phone where this behaviour is permitted.
  • If you have more than 7 sections on your hub you should implement semantic zoom to make it easier for users to navigate around the hub.


Useful Links


Getting your app into the store

We’re ready for your app. Haven’t signed up yet? Getting started is easy—just go to the Windows Store Dashboard on the Windows Dev Center and sign up. The dev tools are free, the SDK is ready, and we have a ton of great supporting content to help you build your app and submit it for Store certification. Sign up now, reserve your app names—we look forward to seeing your app in the Store in time for the general availability of Windows 8.

And specifically here to help in the UK we have a range of Camps & Clinics - sign up here

In addition, up until 30th September, we have a number of App Excellence labs available to developers with Apps ready to review –sign up for those here

UK Developers who take action before the launch date of 26 October will also qualify for our Elite developer programme – with exclusive rewards and benefits. Learn more here.

We can’t wait to see your App in Store!

  • Wide Tiles -- I have seen plenty of apps that don't do anything with wide tiles. FreshPaint, Ted, Mahjong, etc. Some may need to be started/have data to be dynamic but I am pretty sure those just don't do anything yet they default to wide.

    I understand reviewers can't catch everything but guidelines seem to be inconsistent across apps.

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